Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cold Peanut Noodles

Nutty Noodles 

½ lb. of whole-wheat spaghetti
½ cup of organic creamy peanut butter (or almond)
2tsp low sodium soy sauce
1tsp of toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tsp of grated ginger
1 tsp of grated garlic
½ tsp of sugar
1 ½ tsp of chile garlic paste
1/3 cup water

Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Put ½ lb of whole-wheat spaghetti in pot and stir every so often. Pasta should be al dente before draining water. Rinse them under cold water in a colander.

 In a large whisk combine peanut butter and all the rest of the ingredients except water. Once combines whisk in the water to thin out the sauce.

Toss the pasta with the sauce in a large bowl. Top with shredded carrots or bok choy. 

Mmmm! Mini Muffins & Breads

Mini Orange Cran Nut Loaves
 1 cup white all- purpose flour
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup oat bran
¼ cup almond meal
Juice/zest 4 large clementine (orange family)
2 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup pulsed almonds
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup whole flaxseeds (grind seeds…see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil (or apple sauce)    
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini loaf pans or cupcake pan with nonstick baking spray.

Pulse fresh, or frozen cranberries for about a minute, or until coarsely chopped in a food processor. Grate the zest of 4 clementine or 2 tablespoons worth. Squeeze the clementines into a liquid measuring cup and add apricot juice to measure ¾ cup of juice.

In a coffee grinder, pulse flax seeds until broken down into a coarse meal substance.

Pour flax seed meal into a large bowl. Add whole-wheat flour, white all-purpose flour, almond meal, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix till combined.

In a medium bowl whisk egg, sugar vanilla, oil (or apple sauce), clementine zest and clementine/apricot juice. Add to the flour mixture with a spatula until the flour mixture is moistened. Fold in the chopped cranberries and ¼ almonds. Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf pan or muffin pan. Lastly sprinkle the remaining almonds on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Check with toothpick. Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Blueberry Banana Bread 

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats (quick cooking)
3 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 large organic egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1 cup mashed banana(s) (about 2 bananas)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray loaf pan or muffin pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl combine the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose white flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix in oats.

In a medium bowl cream the sugar and margarine with an electric mixer. Beat in egg; add the mashed bananas and lemon juice. Stir until combined. Add the flour mixture until moistened. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter into the loaf, or cupcake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Check with a toothpick. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Wrap and refrigerate before cutting.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nosh on a Healthy Snack

Do you feel like your kids are consuming too much sugar and not enough healthy fruits, veggies and whole grains? Here are some tasty snack recipes that are not packed with lots of sugar, fat and yucky preservatives. Wahoo!

Mini Granola Bars
Yields about 8 to 10 bars

What you need:
-2 ripe bananas
-1 cup of rolled oats (quick cooking)
½ cup of all natural almond butter
-1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
-¼ teaspoon of salt
-1 teaspoon of vanilla
-1/4th cup of sunflower seeds
-½ cup of almonds (run it through the food processor to get nuts roughly chopped)
-¼ cup of dried fruit (I typically use raisins or apricots)
-¼ cup of organic dark chocolate mini chips or carob chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a big bowl mash down the bananas until broken down and mushy. Add in the almond butter until combined.

Slowly add in the oats, chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins or chopped apricots, choc chips, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Mix well.

Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth top with knife to make sure bars cooks evenly. Bake bars for about 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Let bars cool before cutting…or you will end up with a crumbly mess. Enjoy!

Health 411
Almonds- is a great source of fiber, which is a natural cure for constipation and can help regulate bowls. Additionally, almonds contain manganese, riboflavin and copper, which is a natural energy booster. Almonds also contain the antioxidant Vitamin E, which is great for the skin.

Sunflower Seeds- is a yummy protein that is rich in Vitamin E and a good source of B-complex vitamins. Additionally, the seeds contain many of the essential minerals: Manganese, Copper, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium. Great seed for growing bones

Crispy and Crunchy Veggie Chips

What you need:
-2 large organic sweet potatoes
-salt to taste
-2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
-2 large carrots

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Wash and peel veggies and slice them thin with a knife. In a large bowl toss them with olive oil and salt. Place them on a baking sheet and bake between 1.5-2 hrs. Flip slices a few times to prevent them from burning. Check them often because they can burn easily. Remove chips when they are light brown and crispy.

Healthy 411
Sweet Potatoes, is a great source of many essential vitamins, that tots bodies crave. Sweet potatoes are very rich in vitamins A, C and E. Additionally it is a great source of manganese and fiber. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Juice it to Great Health

Mini Meals to the Rescue!

Are you a parent who is constantly struggling to get your child(ren) to eat balanced meals and snacks? Do you find yourself giving into your child’s whines and throwing in the towel? Look no more… Juice smoothies are a fast and effective way to pump your children up with the nutrients their bodies crave!

Cold Fighter
Kiwi Honeydew

Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes

-4 cups of honeydew melon (1/2 melon)
-3 cups of white cranberry juice
-2 cups of kiwi (4 peeled and chopped kiwi)
-2 cups of ice

Combine all ingredients in the blender and pulse until smooth.

Health Benefit Facts:
Kiwi is a great source of vitamin C and fiber. Additionally, it contains vitamin A and E, magnesium, potassium, copper, and phosphorus and is full of antioxidants. Also studies have proven the fruit to help with respiratory health problems.

Honeydew is a sweet method to get in some key vitamins like vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B and copper. Additionally, this super fruit helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels and is awesome for the skin.

Promotes Eye Health

Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes

-1 pound of frozen peach slices (about 2 cups)
-1.5 cups of tangerine orange slices (peeled and pitted)
-2 cups of carrot juice
-2 cups of orange/tangerine juice
-2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients until smooth

Health Benefit Facts:
Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene and contain a significant amount of silicon. Additionally, it aids indigestion and reduces excessive stomach acid. Awesome veggie for the eyes too!

Ginger is a stimulant to the digestive and circulatory systems. It’s great for nausea, fevers, muscle aches, gas, indigestion, vomiting and travel sickness. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Peaches are a great source of carotenes, potassium, flavonoids and natural sugar.

Oranges and Tangerines are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids. Additionally, they are great for the immune system, the adrenal glands, the connective tissues and your overall health. These juicy fruits will surely chase those germs away!

Extra Extra: To boost these smoothies to the next level you can add a protein like plain Greek yogurt or add a protein powder (plain whey, rice or hemp powder). 1 scoop

CMarie's spin on Italian Classics

This yummy recipe is a kid classic revamped to provide your child with the nutrients their little bodies crave. Kid tested Nanny/Family Approved!

Mini Turkey/Veggie Meat Loaf Cups

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray cupcake tin. Recipe yields 20 mini meat loafs.

What you need:
-2 cups of grated zucchini
-1.5 cups of diced onion
-1 pound of lean ground turkey
-1/2 cup of uncooked couscous
-1 egg
-2 tablespoons of pesto
-1/2 to 1 cup of marinara sauce (depends on how much sauce you prefer)
-2 garlic cloves diced
                                                                                    -1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
                                                                                    -Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop garlic and place in a sauté pan with olive oil. Pour in all veggies and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly brown.  Transfer veggies into food processor and lightly pulse them until broken down. DON’T liquefy veggies. Place pulsed veggies into a bowl and mix in ground turkey, couscous, egg, pesto and a pinch of salt and pepper until combined. Fill each muffin cup 3/4ths of the way. Top each cup with sauce. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool before serving. 

Freeze the leftover mini loafs individually for later use!

Health 411: Using ground turkey or even ground chicken cuts down the fat of a typical meat loaf recipe. Additionally, adding the veggies and marinara sauce instead of ketchup, or barbeque sauce eliminates the high sugar content many other meat loaf recipes call for.

Basil Pesto

An Italian classic from my childhood…Mangia Mangia!

Yields about ½ cup of pesto sauce

What you need:
-2 cups of fresh basil washed and de-stemmed
-1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup of olive oil
-1/4 cup of pine nuts
-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper
-3 garlic clove

First place the garlic into the food processor and pulse until minced. Then add the basil leaves, pine nuts and salt and pepper into the food processor. While processor is running on low pour the olive oil slowly through the feed tube until ingredients are pureed. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and stir in Parmesan cheese. Bottle and store pesto sauce in refrigerator until ready to use. Also you can freeze pesto sauce in ice tray to use for meal in a pinch.

Use pesto sauce over whole-wheat pasta or add it to a chicken or meat dish to give the meal a boost of flavor. Also be inventive with the recipe. You could substitute almonds for pine nuts or use 3/4ths basil 1/4th mint. I’ve also used half basil half spinach. If your child has nut allergies use sunflower seeds to substitute for pine nuts. Get creative and have fun! 

Health 411: Fresh Basil or basil oil is not only yummy and fragrant… it’s good for you too! Basil is known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Additionally, it contains high levels of magnesium, which is good for blood circulation. Basil can be used to treat constipation, the flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, stomach indigestion and asthma.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

An all natural throw back…

When I was a baby …way way back in 1987, it was NOT common for mothers to make their babies homemade baby food. Considering, my Mom was ahead of her time, super cautious and a complete nervous wreck with every aspect of the 1rst year of my life (I was her first), she found it to be imperative that I only eat the best and most natural foods.  She couldn’t imagine feeding me baby food, packed with preservatives and products she could not even pronounce. She speaks of her expertise with baby food, usually around this time of year (my birthday just passed), when she gets all sentimental about my childhood. Below are two of my baby favs… an homage to my Mimi (mother)! Thanks for years 0 through 25 and the many many meals in between.  

Apple, Pear & Banana Mash Up

What you need:
-4 Organic Apples (I like to use Fiji, Gala or Macintosh)
-2 Organic Bosc Pears
-1 Large Organic Banana (I like to use a very ripe banana)
-1/2 cup water
-(optional)A Sprinkle of Cinnamon (Ask your doctor if your baby can be introduced to this spice)

Peel, core and cut apples into tiny chunks. Do the same for the Pear and Bananas. Place fruit into pan and cover with water. Cover pan and bring fruit mixture to a boil. Make sure to keep an eye on the mixture…it can easily burn if not watched.

Once fruit mixture is tender place it in a food processor or high-powered blender and puree. You may want to add a little water, depending on how thick or thin you want the puree to be. You can also add baby cereal after pureed.

Health Facts:
Apples: It’s considered to be one of the most popular fruits in the world it’s also a baby/kid favorite. Additionally, apples contain vitamins and minerals that fuel the bodies’ blood. The saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ holds some validity, due to its health benefits.  Vitamins: A, C, Foliate; Minerals: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium

Pears: Great fruit to introduce to babies who are just starting on solid foods. It’s low in acid and won’t upset a baby’s tummy. It’s high in fiber so don’t feed it to a baby who is experiencing diarrhea. Vitamin: Ample amounts of vitamin C; Minerals: copper, iron, potassium, manganese and magnesium as well as B-complex vitamins.

Banana: A very sweet and tasty fruit that is soft on its own… great fruit to introduce to babies starting on solid foods. Bananas not only are tasty but they strengthen the teeth and bones and help replenish the bodies electrolytes after having a bout with diarrhea Vitamins: A, C and B6; Minerals: Calcium, Iron Potassium, Zinc and Magnesium

Apple and Avocado

What you need:
-1/4th a cup of pureed applesauce (plain apple sauce)
-Half avocado (pitted)

In a bowl, mash the avocado and mix in applesauce and serve. Here comes the airplane!

This quick and easy recipe is great for babies who are just starting to eat solid foods. Avocados are known contain everything you need to survive.

Health Facts:
Avocado: Vitamins: Contains substantial amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Vitamin B6; Minerals:Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium and Iron

IMPORTANT: Non-organic produce could potentially have traces of toxins that are especially harmful to young babies and children.

Let's Zoom to the Moon after Breakfast

Are your kids hyper in the morning and then crash hard by mid morning? These two super healthy nutritious breakfast recipes are sure to give your tot the boost they need before school. Organic fresh ingredients + Easy Recipes= Happy, healthy and strong tots…happy tots=happy parents and nannies! 

Mini Frittatas for Tots

-Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
-2 large organic eggs
-6 organic liquid egg whites
-Splash of organic milk
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon salt
-2 cup of chopped organic spinach
-1 yellow onion diced finely
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
-3 diced garlic cloves
-1 tablespoon of olive oil

In a medium size pan heat oil and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. On medium heat add spinach, salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk eggs/egg whites and milk until frothy. Grease mini muffin tin and pour a little of the veggie mix and cheese in each tin. Pour egg mixture over veggie and cheese until each tin is almost full. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until browned on top. 

Health Scoop
Eggs- is an inexpensive protein that has large amounts of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Research proves that incorporating eggs into your child’s diet can improve their brain concentration, help with behavioral issues, raise test scores and improve math and reading skills. Additionally, eggs are great for a child’s eyesight, bones, hair and skin. (I highly recommend spending the extra buck on organic dairy products. Non-organic dairy products could contain hormones which, could be dangerous for you child)

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pancakes

-3 egg whites
-2 teaspoons of ground flaxseed
-1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon of organic sugar
-2 tablespoons of plain organic Greek yogurt
-1/2 cup of old fashion oats (ground)
-2 teaspoons of organic dark chocolate chip

Pour the old fashion oats in a food processor (or high power blender) and pulse until oats are ground down. In a medium size bowl mix all other ingredients and then add ground oats and mix until combined.

Spray a non-stick frying pan with olive oil spray and spoon batter into pan. Keep an eye on batter and flip when one side is golden brown. When both sides are cooked you can top the pancake with fresh fruit or organic syrup.

Health Scoop
Ground Flaxseed- is an antioxidant, contains Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon and is a great source of fiber
Old Fashion Oats- is a great source of fiber and very good for heart health
Greek Yogurt- is a great source of protein and tast